“I believe the thing that sets us apart from some of the other outstanding breweries in this area is our focus on what we call ‘second-half’ beer quality.”— Sayre Piotrkowski, sales and marketing manager
The ruler of the roost for the North Bay craft beer scene is once again, HenHouse Brewing Company. NorthBay biz magazine readers recently voted this “Big Chicken” Best Local Brewery for 2022 in the annual readers’ poll—the second-consecutive award for the multi-year-winning brewery.
HenHouse Brewing, founded by Collin McDonnell, Scott Goyne and Shane Goepel, produced significant growth in its early stages, brewing 88 barrels of beer in 2013 to 12,000 in 2019 and the number continues to rise alongside the brewery’s popularity and reach. The initial tasting room on Bellevue Avenue in Santa Rosa hatched new locations such as the Palace of Barrels in Petaluma and the West County Pub in Fairfax.
The pandemic prompted HenHouse to sell its beer online for the first time, a unique pivot for a brewery that prides itself on freshness. Sayre Piotrkowski, sales and marketing manager told NorthBay biz, “I believe the thing that sets us apart from some of the other outstanding breweries in this area is our focus on what we call ‘second-half’ beer quality… our way of referring to all of the steps we take to ensure that no matter where it is you encounter our beer, that beer will be in brewery-fresh condition and taste just as delicious as it would be if you were to order a pint in our tasting room.”
In keeping with its theme and dedication to freshness, the brewery launched “The Freshtival,” a nonprofit event celebrating the art of fresh craft beer and benefitting the Bay Area Brewers Guild. All the beer poured at the event is less than seven days old. The brewery also hosts a “Brushes + Brews Paint Night” at its Santa Rosa taproom where guests can choose from up to six rooster/hen images as painting inspiration.
The logo of HenHouse’s rooster has become something of a local icon among its cult following of craft beer enthusiasts. The brewery tapped into that cult following admiration with a series of IPAs named after unique conspiracy theories such as “Fish Don’t Exist,” “Kubrick’s Landing” and “Reptilian Shadow Government.”
HenHouse also launched an original podcast called, “HenHouse Unruffled,” for devoted fans. Each episode takes a deeper dive into its beers, beer names, graphics, ingredients and sensory. The podcast can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. The podcast is another way the company is reaching and growing its audience and cult following. According to Piotrkowski, the sales and marketing strategy borrows from the lyrics of an OutKast song, “If you want to reach the nation, start with your corner.” HenHouse started with its “corner” on Bellevue Avenue in Santa Rosa and has been expanding from there with every pour of freshness.
[Lead photo courtesy of HenHouse Brewing Co.]